Open Post | Tuesday, October 15th

Instant Reaction | Oklahoma
– D.T.

The 11th-ranked Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) arrived in Dallas as double-digit underdogs to the 6th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0).

*** I thought it was pretty weak of the referee crew to assess an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to every player on both teams after a pretty standard pre-game “altercation.” This means that any player that receives an unsportsmanlike in today’s game will be automatically ejected.

*** The opening kickoff was extremely short (what the heck was that?) and in the blink of an eye, the Sooners were in Longhorn territory after their first play from scrimmage.

*** Chris Brown saved a touchdown on the first-drive when he laid out to knock Cee Dee Lamb out of bounds at the 3-yard line, forcing a 4th down. Unfortunately, Texas lost BJ Foster on the same play.

*** Brown’s efforts would prove futile, as Oklahoma would go for it on 4th down and find Cee Dee Lamb for an easy score after Charleston Rambo set a nice pick to get him open.

*** Texas was in man coverage that entire first drive, which allowed Jalen Hurts to scramble and pick up a first down when they had everyone covered up. I don’t like it.

*** I like Texas trying to get the ball into Devin Duvernay on it’s first two plays. Unfortunately, both plays went for losses.

*** Zach Shackelford got whipped by Neville Gallimore on 3rd down, resulting in a sack of Sam Ehlinger and I can hear and smell Oklahoma fans stuttering and slobbering all over themselves talking about Alex Grinch and “Speed D.”

*** Texas didn’t run the ball once on their first possession.

*** Joseph Ossai almost killed Cee Dee Lamb on Texas’ opening punt. Ossai is a starter that takes pride in playing on Special Teams. Just another check mark on what is becoming an impressive NFL prospect resume’ for him.

*** Texas switched it up on Oklahoma’s second possession of the game, playing primarily zone defense. They then went back to man on third down, resulting in yet another Hurts scramble on 3rd down, resulting in yet another 3rd down conversion.

*** Luckily for Texas, Anthony Cook made his first big play as a Longhorn, forcing a Hurts fumble on the play.

*** Welcome back Collin Johnson! His first grab in nearly a month went for 22 yards on a catch-and-run.

*** Not sure what Junior Angilau was doing on 3rd-and-6 in Oklahoma’s territory on Texas’ second drive after the Longhorns started deep in their own and were putting a drive together. Just a Freshman mistake at a really inopportune time. Instead of un timely penalty, it was an untimely Freshman brain fart that killed momentum.

*** Todd Orlando is one hard-headed dude! After Texas forced another 3rd down after successfully keeping everything in front of them by playing zone on 1st and 2nd, they then go back to man coverage and Hurts burns them with another scramble. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, the same way, over and over and expecting a different result. This is insanity.

*** Wow. Tremendous job by the Texas Defense bowing up in the red zone. Brandon Jones, the Senior, made a veteran play by falling off of one receiver and crossing the face of another to record his first interception of the season. He made a bit of a Freshman mistake by now going down in the endzone for a touchback.

*** Ehlinger threw the deep comeback perfectly early in the 2nd quarter to Collin Johnson. A big improvement from last week when he struggled with this particular route.

*** Kenneth Murray Jr. was all over the place in the first half against Texas. The guy has been a beast thus far and the difference in the ball game.

*** Oklahoma can play man-to-man because Kenneth Murray Jr. is fast enough to be the spy and consistently get Sam Ehlinger to the ground 1-on-1. Texas doesn’t have a guy like him and Hurts is a better athlete than Ehlinger.

*** Texas has forced two turnovers and have zero points to show for it. Oklahoma has turned the ball over twice in the Texas red zone.

*** To this point in the game, the Texas Offensive Line is not winning at the line of scrimmage (LOS). I’m mildly surprised, but I knew that the Oklahoma defensive front would come out fired up after hearing how much more physical Texas is than them. We’ll see if it lasts to the second half.

*** Joseph Ossai and Anthony Cook have had very nice first halves.

*** The Texas defense wasn’t impressive between the 20-yard lines, but the red zone efforts were excellent for the third game in a row in the first half.

*** I thought that Ehlinger did a great job orchestrating the final drive of the first half that resulted in a 49-yard Cameron Dicker field goal.

*** It feels as though Texas got dominated in that first half and the statistics back that up, but turnovers have kept the Longhorns in this game.

*** Passing Yards Texas – 71 Oklahoma – 95

*** Rushing Yards Texas – 12 Oklahoma – 165 Wow.

*** Oklahoma was the more physical team in the first half. Texas has done a terrific job of staying in this one.

*** I don’t feel like Texas took enough shots in the first half. The only one I remember is the drop by Jake Smith. I understand not wanting to risk turnovers, but Texas can’t win this game without being more aggressive offensively.

*** Texas Offensive Line has shown that they struggle with DL stunts and Cyclone blitzes. Zach Shackelford was late to identify a twisting Kenneth Murray Jr. (Keaontay Ingram didn’t help much either), resulting in Oklahoma’s 4th sack of the game. The 2nd on Shackelford.

*** Demarvion Overshown with the flash play forcing an errant Hurts pass after he came shooting through the LOS for a QB hit. You would think that Overshown would be a great candidate to use as a spy for Hurts. Good to see him back out there.

*** Having Collin Johnson back makes a big difference.

*** Texas went hurry-up and went Tackle-Over with Samuel Cosmi on the same side as Kerstetter and Angilau. A missed tackle, and Johnson was off to the races for 58 yards.

*** Johnson made back-to-back-to-back big plays on that touchdown drive, with the reception to move the sticks on 3rd down, the 57-yard run, and then the finishing touchdown run. Big time stuff from that guy. Tie ball game.

*** This has been a very cleanly officiated game. They are letting the players decide the outcome.

*** Malcolm Roach is going to get ejected.

*** The tackling on the flea flicker, and effort from BJ Foster in particular, was embarrassing.

*** What a time for Devin Duvernay to drop a ball. What a time to learn of that fair catch rule. Texas got a kickoff and will be starting a drive from their own 5-yard line. Incredible.

*** If Collin Johnson doesn’t drop that slant, he may still be running.

*** Back-to-back colossal mistakes by Senior leaders for Texas.

*** Brennan Eagles dropped an absolute dime that Sam Ehlinger uncorked from his own endzone. Missed opportunities.

*** Another tremendous job by the Texas defense, bowing up in the red zone after Oklahoma began the drive already in Texas territory.

*** Texas has been atrocious on their Kickoff Return unit. Texas has started with the ball inside of their own 25-yard line on all but one drive today after a kickoff.

*** Through three quarters, Texas has given up 6 sacks.

*** I fear that Texas may have just lost Anthony Cook the same way that they lost Jalen Green. Cook came flying up from his Corner position and went low on a RB coming at him full speed. Cook took the worst of it, and had to be helped off the field. His shoulder/collarbone area was being looked at.

*** Juwan Mitchell got a hand on a ball on 4th and-1, saving the Longhorns offense once again, forcing a turnover on downs.

*** I’ll give Todd Orlando credit for finally adjusting defensively. Some of his blitzes also started to hit home as the game wore on.

*** Collin Johnson took over the drive to end the third quarter, forcing two pass interference calls on 5’9 Oklahoma Corner Tre Brown. Texas punches it in with their trademark QB Power from the 2-yard line. 20-17 heading into the 4th.

*** Texas has strained, clawed, scratched, and fought to stay in this one and they definitely gave themselves a chance heading into the final 15 minutes.

*** It sure seems like Chris Brown has missed a bunch of tackles today.

*** Brennan Eagles has 1 catch for 6 yards on 5 targets. 20% catch rate.

*** Dicker the Kicker loves the Cotton Bowl and is 2-for-2 today. Good from 49 and 32 yards, respectively.

*** The Texas defense finally broke in the 4th quarter. They looked gassed in the final frame.

*** This game came down to two things for Texas: Tackling and their Offensive Line got whipped, giving up 9 sacks in the process.

*** Jalen Hurts finished 16/28 (57%) for 235 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception, as well as a lost fumble. He added 131 yards on the ground and a score.

*** Oklahoma ran for 278 yards against Texas and had 503 yards of Total Offense.

*** CeeDee Lamb had 171 yards on 10 catches for 3 touchdowns. Take Lamb away, and the rest of the Oklahoma team had 6 catches for 84 yards.

*** Sam Ehlinger was 26/38 (68%) for 210 yards. He had -9 yards rushing due to the 9 sack, but had 2 scores on the ground.

*** Texas rushed for 100 yards and averaged on 2.8-yards per carry. Roschon Johnson rushed for 95 yards on 8 carries for an 11.9-yard average. Keaontay Ingram had 9 yards on 2 carries.

*** Collin Johnson led Texas with 82 yards on 6 catches before he left the game with an apparent head injury. Devin Duvernay was held to 54 yards on 8 catches and only 5 yards on 2 carries.

*** Texas never led in this ballgame and it always felt as if the Longhorns were playing catch up. Texas was never in control of this game at any point and Oklahoma was the more physical team from start to finish.

*** Texas falls to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The Longhorns face the Kansas Jayhawks next week in Austin.

Quick Hitter | Keondre Coburn Hustle
– Charlie S

One play which K and I were talking about as the game unfolded which may have gone unnoticed by a few folks was this hustle play of Keondre Coburn.

Here you have Coburn, engaged with Sooners right guard Tyrese Robinson behind the line of scrimmage. Jalen Hurts takes off and Coburn disengages from Robinson and pursues from behind.

If Coburn does not make the effort, as you can see, Hurts would likely have gone for much more than the 22 yard gain he made and he potentially scores.

The big fella had four tackles on the day and while the Sooners offensive line did a good job of keeping him out of the backfield, it is a very positive sign to see this type of hustle and determination from the 300+ defensive lineman chasing down a ball carrier 20 plus yards downfield.

Big fan of this kid.

Necessary Change for This Season | Defense
– Super K

Amongst blue blood’s moral victories are rare and against your greatest rival, even more infrequent.

No matter how close or what the spread or what the year, each fan base takes this game very personally.

The game was indeed close on the scoreboard but it didn’t feel like the two teams were as close as they should be on the field.

To win the Big 12 championship, Texas will have taken a big step forward. That goal is still in front of them.

They need to put this game behind them, stop the talking and get to work. They should be favorites in every game the rest of the regular season. Win those, and they’ll likely have a chance to redeem themselves against Oklahoma.

But a few things, in my opinion, need to change right away.

***I know this can’t be helped at the moment, but I have to acknowledge the role that injuries are playing and it will lead me to my next point. Texas is without a lot of players on the defensive side of the ball and the “next man” up mentality is great but the bottom line is there is only so much depth in year three of a rebuild.

I can tell you right now that if OU was missing a starting cornerback, the starting nickel back, a starting safety and then during the game a starting linebacker and a starting defensive lineman, it would have made a difference.

People can say what they want about Orlando but he kept Texas in that game. And, it was his squad that gave up those yards in the first half but it was also his squad that had those key turnovers. There is something about the way he coaches that leads to these turnovers. Four INTs against WVU and then two key turnovers against Oklahoma. Once is luck. Twice is skill.

***But part of the reason Orlando’s guys aren’t healthy seems to be because of something that’s bothered me for a while now.

His guys seem way more concerned with playing like their in the 1980s and laying a kill shot on someone than getting a man on the ground.

I remember when OU hired Grinch, I asked one of our sources if he’d be looking for big-hitting safeties. The past few years under Mike Stoops OU’s defense had been Charmin soft. The Texas defense has had these heat-seeking missiles patrolling the field, ready to strike at any time.

Given Grinch’s fiery temperament, the answer surprised me a bit. Source said, no he just wants guys who will get their guy on the ground.

There is wisdom in that and as much as you love a defense to intimidate their opponents with the kind of hits you can hear all the way in Louisiana, it’s becoming a liability.

Where is the technique? The Texas players aren’t even wrapping up. I saw players launching themselves at OU players, head down and arms tucked to their sides only to hit dirt as the OU player went past them.

This is unacceptable and it needs to be addressed immediately.

The result of this poor technique is not only yards for the opposing team but injuries for Texas.

During the WVU, BJ Foster launched himself at a WVU player and laid a massive hit all while dropping his head. It was a highlight hit. But the result was the WVU player walking off like nothing had happened. Meanwhile BJ Foster had injured himself and I must say, it initially looked scary.

I remember Jalen Green launching himself at an LSU player leading to his injury.

Orlando and co need to make tackling with proper technique (head up and wrap up) a priority this week and the remaining weeks. Your physicality shouldn’t come at the expense of results or safety. It comes from seeing things quickly, closing space quickly, and striking your opponent properly.

As much as OU dominated much of that game and as much as people are complaining about the Texas game plan, there is an argument to be made that just tackling well could’ve won that game for Texas.

In my next post, I’ll address what I see as the most critical chance necessary on the offensive side of the ball.

Tom Herman Presser – October 14th
– CJ Vogel

Tom Herman took to the podium Monday to talk the state of the team following the Oklahoma loss.

Health Update

  • Chris Brown – fractured forearm – expected to miss six weeks.
  • Collin Johnson – Not diagnosed with concussion – Johnson is still being evaluated but he is lifting with the team Monday
  • Jeff McCulloch – Dislocated shoulder – OUT for Kansas, likely to miss a couple weeks.
  • Juwan Mitchell – Sprained elbow – “As of now, we don’t think that will limit him too severely as the week progresses.”
  • Caden Sterns – Expected OUT against Kansas
  • Jalen Green – Expected OUT against Kansas

** Herman on if Roschon Johnson could be bumped up to  RB1 this week: “I’ll know after this week of practice.”

More on Johnson: “He plays fearless. He plays tough. He plays aggressive. He’s got to clean some things up from a protection standpoint, but I really like the progress that he’s made in the two months of playing that position.”

** Herman on the physicality of OU, “It was the first time we got out-physicaled one both sides of the ball. Obviously, that’s not us.”

** Herman on the offense, “I felt like we could make some adjustments, some needed adjustments. I think I learned that our kids play really, really hard for their coaches which is really important.”

“Overall, discouraged in the way that we played on offense as a whole. Then, the tackling on defense. Encouraged by our red-zone defense, our ability to take the ball away and our third-down conversions.”

** On Joseph Ossai and his performance against the Sooners: “It’s definitely a tall order. He definitely had a few assignment errors we need to clean up. You’re not going to find a guy that plays harder on defense and is more suited to do multiple things like he is.”

Portal Notes | Theo Howard & Mustapha Muhammad
– Super K

***UCLA WR, Theo Howard will graduate this December and has decided to become a grad transfer for next season.

Howard had over 600 receiving yards last season. He’s currently injured.

Howard told me that his preference would be to play at Texas. I’m told that he has reached out to Texas.

Whether or not Texas will take Howard, my sources tell me, has not been decided. I’d say right now it’s less likely than it is likely but we’ll see.

***Also, former Horns target and in-state TE, Mustapha Muhammad has announced that he will transfer from Michigan.

I am told that Muhammad’s top choice is Texas.

As far as Texas goes, again, I’m hearing no decision has been made. One source said they’ve always liked his athleticism but there is a bit of a log jam at the TE position.